Regional Australia Bank CEO Kevin Dupé applauded the findings of the Royal Commission and thought the big four would be forced into changes that started to put the customer first he was quick to draw attention to the customer-owned banking model.
“The customer-owned model positions the customer at the centre of decision-making – ensuring value is added to them at each turn through fairer fees, competitive rates and quality services. It really does put people before profit,” he said.
“Where you have a model that primarily gauges success on the financial returns to its shareholders, you can see how customer interest may be compromised in decision making.”
The peak body for credit unions, building societies and mutual banks the Customer Owned Banking Association has said it supports the royal commission’s recommendations for stronger regulator accountability.
The six principles put forward to banks by the Hayne Royal Commission are pretty common sense really.Prof Michael Adam
“If the Royal Commission has taught us anything, it has unearthed that it is the adherence to regulation, not the amount of regulation that is the problem,” he said.
International expert in corporate law and governance UNE Professor Michael Adams said agreed with Mr Dupe and said cooperatives and mutuals had very long histories of delivering services to communities and members spanning about 300 years.
“They’ve got a clearer focus of who they are and what they are dealing with,” Prof Adams said.
“I just go back to the NRMA (which I have a soft spot for) because they became very valuable through their insurance arm, and it was seen as by giving back to the current members back in the early 90s, and it was seen as fantastic for membership to receive this money.
“They found out, of course, that the NRMA is much more effective as a member organisation than one that is commercially run.”
He said the six principles put forward to banks by the Hayne Royal Commission seemed very straight forward.
“They are pretty common sense really. Obey the law, don’t mislead somebody, act in their best interests – you know, these are pretty reasonable and very well understood principles of law,” Prof Adams said.